Can you tell us about your musical influences?
Most of my musical influences are not musical. Much of my technique in com
position has, in the first instance, been assimilated from my practice as a painter along with observations of the work of other artists such as John Constable, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Francis Bacon and Jackson Pollock, to name a few. Closely related are my experiences and study of the British landscape, its geology and topography, where landscape forms, weather, ambience and the physicality and dynamic of place have influenced how I construct my work and as a consequence, how much of it is manifested as sound. Finally, it may be illuminating if perhaps confusing to list my varied musical heroes. They are, in no particular order, Joseph Haydn, Charles Ives, Brian Ferneyhough, Iannis Xenakis and Ralph Vaughan Williams. A mashup of these composers and their contradictory characteristics may imply something of the workings and conflicts of my creative process.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently completing the composition, recording and mixing of my second self-released album of solo and ensemble music through my label, Polytempo Records, for release on Bandcamp in spring 2022. The album features new works for clarinet solo, duo and trio as well as clarinet with various ensemble combinations. I’m also starting to compose a tour-de-force polytemporal concerto-type work for piano and ensemble, written for pianist Ian Pace, planned for a London premiere later in 2022. At the same time as these, I’m writing a book supported through an ACE Developing Your Creative Practice grant titled ‘Music, Painting, Landscape and Me’ that explores my relationship to composing, painting and landscape. Writing from my perspective as a composer and painter, this book aims to demystify, disentangle and clarify my creative thought by asking what compels me to do what I do; why my practice is as it is; what elements of landscape, music and painting are transmitted across these media, if any; why certain landscapes affect me so deeply; and finally, what I mean by a sense of place and how, if at all, it is embodied in my work? I may not be able to fully answer these questions but hope that this inquiry and journey will provide some useful insight for myself and others on a similarly questioning path. Without doubt, this is the most daunting project I have ever undertaken.
What are you looking forward to most about Music Patron?
Composition is a lonely occupation. When working on the musical fringes as I do, particularly with ideas and methods that are perceptually challenging, unfashionable or insufficiently populist to garner regular attention, a community of interested individuals who connect with me, believe in what I do and support my activities financially becomes an invaluable asset, motivator and enabler. This investment means I can continue to compose, take risks and produce work I believe in without having to worry so much about paying the bills. Working with Music Patron, I hope to be able to connect to this wider philanthropic community. I’m eager to see what new and continuing projects will be sustained or become possible because of it. Together, with your help, we can make new music. That’s exciting!
Watch Marc’s short video on Music Patron: